Steve - I was charmed and gratified to read your very well written comment. All in all I believe we need to pay attention to the lessons of our lives and if we do we'll find our adventures. Little things mean a lot and I've never done anything too out of the way nor would I claim to have done. When I lived in Europe I knew of other young people who, thinking they were protected somehow, went off a little too far where their small riches were a temptation for those with nothing. Some were never seen again and I'd never have put my parents through the agony.
It's been a delight for me to post my paintings and other bits up here. It's nice to know people like them but since I've never been much of a fan of my own work it's extra nice to hear your educated opinions. The Adventure's Ink drawings wouldn't have happened without the blog environment and the only b&w I'd ever done was 'baby days' long ago. I love deco and being very familiar with the artists you named feel very flattered at the comparison. When I have a story in mind the drawings are done within a few days. Somehow I'm sure Valleton and Beardsley took longer and much more care, as did Blake and Tenniel.
I lived in Europe for several years after highschool. I had a job in London for a while but traveled as much as I could to places with galleries and old churches (where I made brass rubbings). I attended various art schools and modeled for classes since the tuition costs were more than my budget allowed. Would you believe one way airfare from Toronto to London cost $1500 in 1965? There weren't many tourists back then.
An epiphany happened during the time I spent in Paris when I made daily pilgrimages to the Louvre when the Mona Lisa was just another small canvas hanging on a wall among hundreds of other paintings. One afternoon I found myself all alone in a large underground gallery dumbfounded by the Michelangelo slave sculptures. I'd already marveled at the Pieta, which had been completed before he was 25, but the Dying Slave and the Rebellious Slave bowled me over. I don't know if you're familiar with them but they are extraordinary and I spent hours trying to absorb their meaning. I learned that living isn't about what we produce but about becoming. I need to paint because the process engenders more internal images than I can possibly capture but I see that as a gift and not an ego enhancement. Perhaps you know what I mean.
It wasn't so hard finding jobs and, since I'm somewhat antisocial, work provided a reason for spending time with people. Knowing I could pay my own way meant I could afford the supplies but didn't have to sell the results. That's not to say I didn't fall for my own hype a few times along the way. I'd get excited when a series was underway and start to think I could sell them and then be able to stay home and paint more. Sometimes it worked and I did meet some nice gallery owners but usually I ended up weighted down with professionally framed and glassed paintings nobody wanted to buy. They're easier to carry in a portfolio and I hate talking about them to potential buyers. I remember a two week series of phone calls from a young woman that went like this:
'What's behind that bush?'
'What do you think is behind the bush?'
'You painted it so you should know what's behind it.'
'I put the bush there because it was the only thing that fit.'
'That's not a very good reason.'
Crow's little niece, Beatrice, has a question for the day: How do you have Capitalism without capital?